Lessons learned: Moving
Tim and I have moved twice in the past two years. Once locally and once out of state. I'm sharing some lessons learned based on our last move. I know everyone's situation is different, but I thought I'd share our experience in hopes to help someone who is thinking about moving.
It's always more expensive than you think it's going to be. Some may argue you can have an accurate budget for every aspect of moving, and if you can accomplish that, share your tips! Our experience has been, we can save and save, but we have to allow some "oh shit" money. We saved for months for our recent move. I researched and researched for the most cost effective route. We had a budget. For the most part, we stuck to the budget, but we simply forgot about a couple expenses. Paying the last billing period of our cable bill at our old place overlapping with the new internet bill from our new place, the cost of a new state driver's license, going out to eat 'cause the kitchen stuff has yet to arrive. We of course budgeted for things like the moving truck, moving out/in fees, cost of food and gas on the road. But all those little loose ends added up, and if I could do it again, I'd save a bit more in our "oh shit" fund.
What works for one space may not work for another. Every apartment and townhome is different. We upgraded in terms of square footage, but our living room is smaller than our last. So the pictures we bought for around the TV, the rug we bought for the floor don't quite work. Evaluate your situation and opt for the cheaper option when furnishing your place. Those investment purchases may seem worth it, because "you'll have them forever", but they very well may not work in your next home. It seems best to wait to get those expensive, investment purchases when you buy your fist home.
Consider timing and weigh out your options. It's hardest to find a place to rent during the Summer. Since our lease ended in July, we knew we were going to face some timing issues. We had been looking for a place to rent in Washington months prior to our lease ending. The process was long. Contacting people via Craigslist, filling out applications, having family checking the place, and facing that reality that someone else got the place. We called on the townhome we're currently in and we were informed that there would be one available in April. Based on our experience, we knew we had to jump on it, but that meant paying a termination fee from the apartment complex we were in. It was either paying an extra 1 month's rent to guarantee moving out by the time our lease was up, or facing the possibility of having to pay month-to-month while continuing to look for a place (which would be ultimately more expensive).
Acknowledge the current phase in your life and live accordingly. Are you in your 20s? It's likely the place you're currently in isn't going to be your last, so decorate and furnish your place a little more on the frugal side. Consider DIY for decorating, frame a sentimental letter, paint a table found at the antique store, or make a jewelry rack. Opt for containers from the Dollar Store (or the $1 dollar section from Target). Maybe once the student loans are paid off, then reward yourself with that lavish accent piece from Restoration Hardware.
We're going to be in our current place for the foreseeable future, but it most certainly won't be the last place we live. Whether your a seasoned homeowner, or young and renting, I'd love to hear your tips and tricks for moving and living in a place!